Almost every sporting organization has a heartbreaking moment they can never possibly forget. For the Golden State Warriors that’s Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals and the Cleveland Cavaliers historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
Over seven years after the fact and it’s still a sore point for Golden State players, fans and most involved with the franchise, even if they’ve recouped beautifully with three NBA championships since that fateful day at Oracle Arena on June 20, 2016.
Golden State Warriors’ veteran Klay Thompson is still hurt revisiting the disappointment of the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 2015-16 season was a near perfect one for the Warriors. They were virtually unbeatable during the regular season, breaking the Chicago Bulls’ all-time record with a 73-9 record. In the Conference Finals they took the Oklahoma City Thunder’s best punch, recovering from a 3-1 deficit themselves to win the series in seven.
After a Game 4 win in Cleveland, the appropriate ending to a great season seemed inevitable. But instead, the Warriors lost two-straight games to setup a mouthwatering Game 7. Speaking recently on the Podcast P with Paul George, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, Klay Thompson spoke about his confidence heading into the Finals decider and the hurt he still holds over the series.
"“Honestly I thought we were good even going back to Oakland (for Game 7). I remember being like, ‘we don’t lose at home’. The last time we did it took Kyrie and LeBron going for 40 a piece, the first time in Finals history. So I’m like ‘alright anomalies happen’…Why are you making me do this Paul? This hurts man.”"
Game 7 lived up to the anticipation, with neither team able to gain major ascendancy throughout a tight, low-scoring contest. Golden State led by four points at halftime but were ultimately heartbroken by a historic go-ahead three-pointer from Kyrie Irving in the final minute.
Thompson’s pain probably isn’t helped by his own individual struggles in that game. The five-time All-Star scored just 14 points, shooting just 6-for-17 from the floor and 2-for-10 from three-point range.
He wasn’t alone in the pressure-filled atmosphere — fellow splash brother Stephen Curry scored 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting, while even Finals MVP LeBron James shot just 9-for-24 from the floor for the Cavaliers.
Thompson did concede the Warriors likely wouldn’t have acquired Kevin Durant in the 2016 offseason if not for the Finals meltdown. With the addition of another all-time great, they got revenge on the Cavaliers by comfortably beating them in the 2017 and 2018 Finals.